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Walgreens Helps UH Hilo College of Pharmacy with Diversity Initiative Funding

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy received a $7,000 check from retail pharmacy Walgreens to fund a diversity initiative. An additional $5,000 will go toward scholarships to students in the PharmD professional program.

From left, Quinn Taira, Eleanor Wong, Carolyn Ma, Amy Song and Heidi Ho-Muniz

This is the ninth year the college has received funding from Walgreens for diversity. The funds have sponsored educational programs such as a tour of healthcare facilities at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.

Walgreens began the diversity program in 2009 to donate $1 million annually toward diversity initiatives at all of the accredited pharmacy schools nationwide.

Eleanor Wong, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor for the San Francisco Peninsula/Hawaiʻi region, presented the check to Dean Carolyn Ma at Walgreens specialty store on Oʻahu. Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy alums Quinn Taira and Amy Song, who both work at the retail store, were in attendance along with Heidi Ho-Muniz, district manager for Walgreens Pharmacy and Retail Operations.

“We are grateful for this initiative that has helped our student pharmacists through the years and strengthened our own commitment to promoting and embracing diversity,” Ma said.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations www.uhfoundation.org.

Grants Approved for Digital Repository of Spoken Hawaiian Language

Grants approved for digital repository of spoken Hawaiian language
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) have collectively awarded grants totaling $448,464 over a three-year period to fund a project involving multiple University of Hawaiʻi campuses to build a digital online repository of spoken Hawaiian language, or ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

The NSF grant is for $283,464, while the NEH portion totals $165,000. The awards are effective August 1, 2017 and will be managed by Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, along with co-Principal Investigators Larry Kimura, associate professor at KHUOK, and Andrea Berez-Kroeker, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at UH Mānoa.

The project, entitled “Building a Hawaiian Spoken Language Repository,” will create Kani`āina, a digital corpus of recordings and transcripts of Native Hawaiian language. Kani`āina will feature hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, fully searchable transcripts in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, catalog information in both English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and a unique crowd-sourcing feature for soliciting enhanced transcription and content-tagging of the recordings from the public.

The recordings and transcripts will be accessible online at Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library, beginning with Phase 1 of the first two collections: Ka Leo Hawaiʻi and Kū i ka Mānaleo, later this year. The content will be archived for long-term preservation in Kaipuleohone, the University of Hawaiʻi Digital Language Archive, which is part of ScholarSpace, the UH institutional repository.

Kawai`ae`a says the awards also include funding for undergraduate research opportunities and for a cross-campus graduate educational exchange in language documentation and revitalization, which is especially timely.

“We are elated that we can now move toward building a larger public repository of audio and visual native speaker collections to support the growing population of Hawaiian speakers,” Kawai`ae`a said. “Kani`āina comes at a crucial time when the number of Hawaiian speakers is increasing as the last of the native speaking elders is rapidly dwindling. We now estimate the number of elder native speakers outside of the Ni`ihau community to total between 20 and 30.”

Data from an April 2016 report by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on Hawaiʻi’s non-English speaking population found the number of persons aged 5 and older who spoke Hawaiian at home statewide totaled 18,400. Kawai`ae`a also noted that more than 3,000 students are presently enrolled in Hawaiian-immersion schools P-12, while 13,500 are enrolled in Hawaiian language coursework in public and private educational institutions, and 2,000 students are enrolled in similar coursework at UH campuses.

Kawai`ae`a says the broader impacts of Kani`āina will include its integration into immersion-based language education from pre-school to the university level, Hawaiian knowledge in the natural and social sciences, and beyond. The project will also engage underrepresented groups as citizen scientists through its creation of a publicly available corpus of an endangered U.S. language.

Department of Health and University of Hawaii at Hilo Notify Students and Staff of TB Exposure at Hilo Campus

Clinic to be held on campus in April

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and University of Hawaii at Hilo are notifying approximately 120 students and staff members of their recent possible exposure to a person with active tuberculosis (TB) at the Hilo campus. All students and staff will be receiving a notice describing the situation and whether testing is recommended. A clinic for TB testing will be held on campus this month and DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient.

“The University of Hawaii Hilo campus activities and all classes can be held as scheduled with no safety concerns related to the past possible exposure,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We don’t expect to find more individuals with infectious TB disease, but we hope to identify individuals who may have had recent exposure, are not contagious, and could benefit from preventative medication.”

“Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor person-to-person contact to spread it to others,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the TB Control Branch. “Most of the students and staff are not at risk, and our investigation to date has found no related active TB cases and no spread of the disease at the university or in the community.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case. The individual is receiving treatment and is no longer infectious. Further Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can only be spread from person-to- person through the air. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.  Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them. It usually takes many months or years from having infection to developing the disease and most people (90 percent) will never become ill. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis, please call the State of Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the Department of Health website at www.hawaii.gov/health/tb.

Climate Change Research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the Coasts for Signs of Erosion

Climate change is affecting more than just plants and animals—it is changing coasts and sea levels. Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are monitoring these changes and the impact on local communities by gathering data that will help officials make sound predictions about, and decisions for, the future.

Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas.

Rose Hart, a first-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, has teamed up with faculty member Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and environmental science at UH Hilo, to begin monitoring shorelines using an exciting and innovative technique.

The researchers are using small unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images of coastal areas across hundreds of acres. The images are used to create 3D data sets to observe past and present changes. A variety of coastal environments are being used for the study including sea cliffs (honoliʻi), low-lying and subsiding coastal lava fields (kapoho) and calcareous beaches (hapuna).

The project has a number of aspects and goals—one is to determine from a historical point of view how these coasts and regions have changed over time to present day. Another aspect is more short term, meaning that data collection occurs every couple of months to every few weeks to see how the coasts are currently changing.

The overall goal is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

For more on Hart and Perroy and their research, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.

University of Hawaii Researcher Awarded $3M to Study Cancer Treatment Potential of Ironweed Plant

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a five-year $3 million grant to a University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center researcher to study how natural compounds in ironweed plant extract can be used to treat breast and brain cancers.

James Turkson holds ironweed plant extract.

“It would be life changing for cancer patients if ironweed extract could help fight aggressive types of breast and brain cancers. Since the compounds are found in the plant, they are less toxic than traditional forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. This gives cancer patients a better quality of life when developed as drugs,“ said James Turkson, awardee and director of the UH Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program. “Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that currently has no cure. In addition, the types of breast cancers we are targeting are some of the most life-threatening breast cancers with few successful treatments.”

“The vast natural resources of Hawai‘i give our researchers a rare opportunity to make scientific discoveries of unique and significant proportions in treating cancer,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center’s director. “This significant NCI award recognizes the breadth and depth of the natural product research focus of the UH Cancer Center, and highlights the national impact our research in Hawai‘i has in the fight against cancer.”

Turkson, along with collaborators Leng Chee Chang, Dianqing Sun and Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, published a study a year and half ago showing that the natural compounds from the ironweed plant were effective in killing breast cancer and brain tumor cells and blocked the development and growth of these cancers in the laboratory. In recognition of these preliminary findings, the funds were granted to continue and expand the study.

“Our team of researchers at the UH Cancer Center and UH Hilo will now be able to probe deeper into the cancer treatment potential of ironweed. The plant’s extract is currently used in Southeast Asia for smoking cessation because of the affects the compounds have on the brain. Some of our initial findings suggest the plant’s natural compounds interfere with key cancer-causing biological pathways in the cancer cell, thereby shutting down the ability of the cells to grow and multiply,” said Turkson.

Breast and brain cancer in Hawai‘i

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Hawai‘i.
  • An average of 125 women die from the disease each year in the state.
  • On average 41 people in Hawai‘i die each year from brain cancer.

*According to the Hawai‘i Tumor Registry

NCI grant: 1R01CA208851

The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O‘ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhcancercenter.org/

University of Hawaii Gets New 45-Foot Education and Training Vessel for Island Students

Tomorrow, Friday, April 7, 2017, students from Ahuimanu Elementary will board the new 45-foot education and research vessel, Ka Noelo Kai (“seeking knowledge from the sea”), as part of its inaugural week of operations to support place-based experiential learning at the UH Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). Leaving from He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor, students will deploy a plankton net, collect data, and watch for green sea turtles and other marine life on their transit to HIMB on Moku o Lo‘e (Coconut Island).

Ka Noelo Kai in Kaneohe Bay, photo credit F. King/HIMB.

HIMB is an internationally recognized research and education facility, situated within Kāne‘ohe Bay and surrounded by 25 acres of protected coral reef refuge designated for scientific research. While on island, the Ahuimanu students will examine plankton through microscopes, participate in an invasive seaweed lab, and tour the research facilities with stops at the lab’s touch pool and shark enclosures. They will leave with new science and stewardship skills to assist them as they become our next generation of scientists, marine managers and ocean stewards, helping to find creative solutions to Hawai‘i’s environmental issues and challenges.

UH scientists and educators Dr. Malia Rivera and Mark Heckman have been growing programs at HIMB to provide pathways to science for Hawai‘i’s underserved elementary through high school student populations for the last nine years. Currently over 4,000 students and teachers attend programs and labs on the island annually. Many students visit the research facility from as young as 5 years of age via the community and family tours. They may come back next with their elementary school or middle school classes, then as high school students in HIMB’s more science intensive programs before entering the University of Hawai‘i as undergraduates.

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology/SOEST/ UH Manoa, photo credit Doug Peebles.

Ultimately a local student who visited as a child may return to gain a graduate degree and become an internationally recognized scientist or natural resource manager.

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation generously provided funds to purchase the vessel, enabling more school groups and students to access the island’s facilities, gain training and delve into the mysteries of Kāne‘ohe Bay’s and Hawai‘i’s beautiful but threatened coral reef ecosystems and ocean waters.

The Ahuimanu Elementary’s fourth grade field trip to HIMB will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 2017.  Student will gather at He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor located at 46-499 Kamehameha Highway in Kāne‘ohe.  Media are welcome.  For more information, contact Mark Heckman at mheckman@hawaii.edu or (808) 277-1691.

Representative Clift Tsuji’s Impact On Hawai‘i Island Agriculture Lives On

Building on Representative Clifton Tsuji’s legacy of giving back to the Hawaiʻi Island community, 159 friends, supporters and family members raised more than $81,000 to fund two endowed scholarships for Hawai’i Community College and University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

Clift Tsuji

“My dad loved his job and viewed it as an honor to service the people of the Big Island as a state representative. There were many things he was passionate about but there is no doubt that agriculture in Hawai’i and supporting this industry was something that really resonated with him,” said Clifton Tsuji’s son Ryan Kalei Tsuji. “We are so thankful to the many donors and supporters who contributed to this endowment scholarship. Our hope is that through this scholarship we can continue his passion and commitment to making a difference in the community even after his passing.”

Endowed scholarships

The Representative Clift Tsuji Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Hawai’i Community College Agricultural Program will support full-time undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

The Representative Clift Tsuji Memorial Endowed Scholarship for University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management will support full-time undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

“Hawaiʻi Community College is honored to be a recipient of generous contributions from the supporters of the late Rep. Clift Tsuji,” said Hawaiʻi Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas. “This scholarship fund is a testament to his legacy of service and commitment to the community. For a community to give back to the next generation of learners is an amazing statement on why this island is so special.”

UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney added, “I learned so much from Clift Tsuji about Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island and agriculture. This scholarship will ensure that, for years to come, many students will continue to learn from his legacy.”

More about Clift Tsuji

Clift Tsuji was a Hawaiʻi Island state representative and an alumnus of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Born and raised in Pāpaʻikou, Tsuji was a graduate of Hilo High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from UH Mānoa’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences. He also attended the University of Washington, Pacific Coast Banking School.

Tsuji served in the U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Infantry, Company B, Hilo, from 1959 to 1965.

Representing House District 2 including Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaʻewa and Waiākea, Tsuji was chairman of the House agriculture committee and was named the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau&38217;s Legislator of the Year in 2015. He was a passionate proponent of agriculture and biotechnology.

He was also active with the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, Hawaiʻi Island Japanese Community Association, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Kumamoto Kenjin Kai.

Get involved

To make a gift to the scholarships, go to the Clift Tsuji Memorial Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC websites.

 

A Message From Senator Kahele – Student Loan Debt

Senator Kahele and some kid!

Aloha, I hope this week’s update finds you well. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, I have made it my mission to address the ever increasing costs associated with getting a University of Hawai’i System (UH System) degree.

To address this issue, my team and I crafted a Hawai’i Promise Program bill to create a “last-dollar” scholarship program for all UH System students who fell just short of the funds they would need to get a degree. We also introduced a Tuition Moratorium bill to preclude the UH System from increasing student tuition for an unspecified period, during which a detailed review of the UH System’s expenditures and revenue could take place.

In July 2015, President Barack Obama recognized the burden of the cost of higher education and issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 15-14 to forbid loan guaranty agencies from charging fees for up to sixteen percent of the principal and accrued interest owed on Federal Family Education Program Loans (FFEPL), if the borrower entered the government’s loan rehabilitation program within sixty days of default. However, on March 16, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 17-02 meant to revoke the federal guidance issued by President Obama.

By this action, President Trump is forcibly removing a safety net for FFEPL borrowers at the worst possible time. The total national student loan debt has grown to $1.3 trillion with a corresponding increase in the national average of debt per borrower at $37,172. Of the 44.2 million borrowers across the nation, 11.2% or just under 5 million borrowers are in default.

In response to President Trump’s action, my team and I put together SCR139 SD1, which urges the reinstatement of GEN 15-14 and requests legislative support or administrative action to allow borrowers in default a chance to rehabilitate their loans and successfully repay student debt without being charged steep collection fees by guaranty agencies. I hope you will join me in supporting this resolution. 

As the session continues, we will remain vigilant and committed to make higher education more affordable. We know education is the key to better paying jobs, job security, and economic stability for our families. That’s why it is critical that we make higher education 100% accessible to people of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii Study Shows the Importance of Coastal Water Quality to Recreational Beach Users

Coasts around the world are threatened by land-based pollutants, including sewage, which affect water quality, coastal habitats and human experiences. To capture the value people place on the coastal environment, UH ecological economist Kirsten L.L. Oleson and former MS student Marcus Peng recently published a study in the journal Ecological Economics. Titled “Beach Recreationalists’ Willingness to Pay and Economic Implications of Coastal Water Quality Problems in Hawaiʻi,” the study found that improvements in coastal environmental conditions could result in large benefits for beach users on Oʻahu, in some cases valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This could justify increased spending on management and restoration.

“The economic value of water quality isn’t yet well understood in Hawai‘i,” says study lead author Marcus Peng, a former Master of Science student in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources who is now pursuing his PhD in Economics at UH Mānoa. “Quantifying the economic value of coastal water quality can help to inform policy decisions that impact the coast and help justify expenditures in water-quality improvements.”

Coastal water is a critical habitat for many marine species, and it is the basis for many economic concerns important to society and local economies, including tourism, coastal recreation, fisheries and property values. The article argues that water-quality degradation presents real and serious costs to the environment and human welfare, and in destinations important for beach tourism, like Hawai‘i, it could threaten an industry contributing trillions of dollars to the global GDP.

In a survey administered to 263 beach users across beaches on Oʻahu, Peng and Oleson surveyed participants’ willingness to pay (WTP) for environmental attributes at different levels of quality. They asked about reducing the number of days a year when the bacterial count in the water exceeds safety standards, and increasing water visibility distance, coral reef cover and the number of different fish species. While beach users cared about all of these, their strongest preferences, based on the amount they were willing to pay, were for water clarity and bacterial quality improvements.

In light of recent and repeated water-quality warnings and beach closures, echoing the serious and prolonged sewage spill in 2006, it is important that decision-makers recognize the significant value of the coastline and the serious harm to the economy that takes place when natural resources are poorly managed or neglected. This is especially true in a state heavily reliant on its natural resources for recreation and tourism. The authors suggest that further studies such as this should attempt to ascertain the economic costs of human impacts on the coastal zone, and these studies should then be used to set management priorities and allocate budgets. Dr. Oleson emphasized, “Reducing human impact on our environment is an investment that benefits society and supports and sustains our quality of life.”

UH Hilo to Host Presentation on Multiracial America

The public is invited to attend a presentation on the social and political implications of America’s increasingly multiracial landscape by Dr. Lauren Davenport, assistant professor of political science at Stanford University. Beyond Black and White: The Identity Construction and Political Attitudes of Biracial Americans will be held on Friday, April 7, from 5 –7 p.m. at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Student Services Center Room W-201.

America’s multiple-race population has surged by 106 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census, when Americans were first allowed to self-identify with more than one race. By 2050, an estimated 20 percent of Americans are expected to identify with multiple racial groups. Davenport’s presentation will address several questions, including:

  • How do mixed-race Americans see themselves, socially, culturally and politically?
  • What determines how someone of mixed-race parentage racially self-identifies?
  • What are the repercussions for the broader American political structure?
  • How do people of mixed-race approach various racial and social policies?
  • What is the impact on resources and benefits intended for minority populations?

The event is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund and organized by the Department of Political Science and the Office of International Student Services and Intercultural Education.

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, visit http://go.hawaii.edu/jK1. For more information, contact Dr. Su-Mi Lee at sumilee@hawaii.edu. For disability accommodation, contact Disability Services at 932-7623 (V), 932-7002 (TTY), or email uds@hawaii.edu.

Community Presentation – Raising Awareness of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy, continue their community presentations this Thursday, March 23 starting at 7 pm. The free Maunakea Speaker Series will be held in the UH Hilo Wentworth Hall: Room 1. On-campus parking after 4 pm is open and available without charge.

Raising Awareness of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death

Dr. Friday will speak on Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death, a fungal disease that is causing extensive mortality across tens of thousands of acres of ‘ōhi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha) forests on Hawai’i Island. Loss of these native forests threatens native species, watershed protection, landscape and cultural resources. Dr. Friday will provide updates on what is currently known about the pathogens, how the disease moves, how it is being monitored, ongoing research, and measures being taken to limit the spread of the disease.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation in partnership with the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. For more information visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734.

Public Comment Period for Draft Environmental Assessment, Maunakea Visitor Information Station

The public is invited to comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Infrastructure Improvements at Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS). The University of Hawaiʻi Hilo is proposing a set of infrastructure improvements at Halepōhaku to accommodate and address the increase in the number of visitors to the mountain; ensure the safety of visitors and workers; prevent unintended impacts to natural, historic, and cultural resources on the Halepōhaku and adjacent parcels; and comply with the Board of Land and Natual Resources (BLNR)-approved Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

The Proposed Action includes: a new means of ingress and egress for vehicles to the VIS, a new access lane and parking area, paving of an unimproved path to provide access from the new parking area to the VIS, drainage features, a greenhouse, and relocation of a cabin. Project activities would occur on the university’s leased lands. The access to the ingress/egress and the new parking area would be through access points identified in the Halepōhaku parcel lease.

Improving traffic conditions and visitor access to the VIS is important to maintaining a safe experience for visitors and workers. The CMP states that for safety reasons, all parking should be on the same side of the road as existing Halepōhaku facilities. The proposed infrastructure changes improve access and safety for visitors and workers by adding ingress and egress routes that facilitate traffic flow and building a new VIS Parking Area. The purpose of the project is to replace unsafe, ad hoc, road shoulder parking that is resulting in degraded conditions, and provide for safe access to the VIS from the new parking lot.

Comment period

The public comment period runs 30 days from March 8, 2017 to April 7, 2017. Comments may be submitted via email to: comments@srgii.com or via regular mail to: Attention: Maunakea VIS Infrastructure Improvements Draft EA Comments, Office of Maunakea Management, 640 N. Aʻohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720.

See Draft Environmental Assessment

UH Hilo Student Pharmacists Named in National Residency Competition First Round

Student pharmacists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo were “matched” with residency programs in round one of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Matching Program. More students from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) have a chance to be placed when the second group of matches is announced after April 12.


Residencies are highly competitive opportunities for Pharm.D. graduates to build on their education in a clinical setting with an experienced mentor. The ASHP Resident Matching Program (the “Match”) places applicants into pharmacy residency training positions in the United States. The Match includes both postgraduate year one (PGY1) and postgraduate year two (PGY2) pharmacy residencies.

About two-thirds of the 5,752 applicants nationwide were successfully placed in round one. Twenty-eight student pharmacists from DKICP participated in round one of the Match, with 13 placed. The remaining 15 students will have to reapply to be eligible for round two.

The Match, which is administered by National Matching Services Inc., is sponsored and supervised by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

Successful applicants thus far include:

Class of 2017 – Year One Residencies (PGY1): Trenton Aoki, Providence St. Peter Hospital, Olympia WA; Mark Allen Bibera, University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento, CA; Megan Calderwood, Indian Health Service, Gnome, Alaska; Mari Louise Cid, University Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, MD; Christopher Diaz, University of Washington Medicine, Seattle, WA; Tiajana Gonzales, Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Birmingham, AL; David Khan, Indian Health Service, Gallup, NM; Kelsea Mizusawa, University of Hawai’i at Hilo, Hilo HI; Lauryn Mow, Providence Centralia Hospital, Centralia, WA, Nadine So, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI; Zi Zhang, The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, HI; and Nick Nguyen, Genentech, Industry Intership, Palo Alto, CA.

Class of 2016 – Year Two Residencies (PGY2): Walter Domingo Stanford Health Care, Stanford, CA. Specialty: Oncology; Alex Guimaraes, Fellowhip Tricore Reference Laboratory Clinical Translational Care Fellow, University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, New Mexico; Jairus Nathan Mahoe, Palomar Health Escondido, CA. Specialty: Health System Pharmacy Administration; Bert Matsuo, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA. Specialty: Cardiology.

Class of 2011: Matthew Kirkland, Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, Biloxi, MS. PGY1 with Mental Health Focus

DKICP/QMC – Year Two (PGY2): Christine Luong, The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, HI. Specialty: Critical Care.

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Announces First-Ever Endowment Gift

The legacy of the late educator and government planner Ilima Piʻianaiʻa is being celebrated through the establishment of a new endowment at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.

Gordon Piʻianaiʻa of Honolulu and Norman Piʻianaiʻa of Kamuela have made a gift through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation to create a new permanently endowed fund to honor their sister and expand access to educational programming at ʻImiloa by K-12 students.

“Just as we are marking the 11th anniversary of our opening, ʻImiloa is thrilled to have our very first permanent endowment, a fund that will benefit the center in perpetuity and enable us to share our unique brand of programming with both current and future generations of young people,” said ʻImiloa Executive Director Kaʻiu Kimura. “We are humbled by the Piʻianaiʻa family’s vote of confidence in ʻImiloa and excited about what this will mean in our second decade and beyond!”

UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney added, “This wonderful gift will benefit the children of Hawaiʻi for years to come.”

About Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Ilima Piʻianaiʻa (1947–2006) pursued a noteworthy career in the public sector, starting with her service as a Hawaiʻi County planner helping to develop a general plan for the island. She later served with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority and worked on the Kakaʻako Improvement District, among other projects.

Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

She lectured in geography and planning at UH Mānoa from 1980 to 1984, administered the Task Force on the Hawaiian Homes Commission from 1982 to 1983, then held appointments as Hawaiʻi County deputy planning director, director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, director of the Office of International Relations and Affairs, and deputy director of the state Department of Agriculture.

Norman Piʻianaiʻa commented about his sister, “Even though Ilima was from Honolulu, she loved the Big Island and its people. She moved here around 1970 and mentored in the planning department under Director Raymond Suefuji during the days of Mayor Shunichi Kimura, a time when things were in a process of great change in Hawaiʻi. With ancestral roots firmly planted here, we are confident that Ilima would be pleased to know she has in this way returned and will continue to help nurture and contribute to the future education and development of Hawaiʻi Island youngsters.”

A longtime friend of Ilima, Deanne Lemle Bosnak, remembers her as “a perfect embodiment of ‘aloha.’ She personally represented Hawaiʻi’s beautiful blend of cultures, its warm hospitality and its welcoming aloha spirit. She was also a diplomat who worked hard to build bridges between disparate communities and cultures, demonstrating in everything she did a deep respect for the land and the values of its people.”

Annual distributions from the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment will support access to ʻImiloa by local elementary, middle and high school students, and may include subsidized admission and or transportation to the center, subsidized fees for ʻImiloa programs, and/or program outreach to rural parts of Hawaiʻi Island and the state.

To make a gift to the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment please visit the UH Foundations website.

Benefits of Beekeeping Course to be Held at UH Hilo and Pahoa

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers a course on basic beekeeping. Sessions will be held April 4, 11, 18, 25 and May 2 and 4 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in UH Hilo’s College Hall Room 6, and April 22 and May 6 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Paradise Nectar Apiaries in Pahoa. Tuition is $120 and includes the text book.

Benefits of Beekeeping is designed for anyone new to bees as well as those who have bees and are interested in new ways to relate to and care for them. Participants will learn about treatment‐free beekeeping practices based on bee biology and how to develop a relationship and understanding of bees, their castes, and the roles each caste contributes to the hive.

Instructor Jen Rasmussen has been caring for honey bees on Hawaiʻi Island since 2008. She has developed various methods of maintaining her hives without the use of chemicals or treatments, and organized the beekeeping program at the Island Princess Macadamia Nut Farm.

Private and non-government employers/businesses may qualify for a 50% tuition waiver through the State’s Employment & Training Fund (ETF). For details, visit
http://labor.hawaii.gov/wdd/home/employers/etf/micro/ and apply at least 10 business days before the start of class.

For more information or to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu.

Health Occupation Students of America at UH Hilo Turns in Strong State Performance

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo claimed top honors in multiple categories at the 12th Annual HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) – Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference held recently on O`ahu.

HOSA at UH Hilo members Leslie Arce, Jerold Cabel, and Marjie Retundo captured 1st place in the Public Service Announcement event with their 30-second PSA on “My Preparedness Story: Staying Healthy and Resilient!”

Individual winners included Chrisovolandou Gronowski in Behavioral Health and Kateleen Caye Bio in Pharmacology. Lark Jason Canico placed 2nd in Prepared Speaking with his topic on “Leadership, Service, and Engagement.”

In other results, HOSA at UH Hilo was awarded Honorable Mention as one of the largest post-secondary chapters in the state. The gathering also elected Canico, the Immediate Past President (local chapter) and Hawaiʻi Island HOSA Regional Coordinator, as the new Hawaiʻi HOSA Post-secondary Vice President.

“HOSA at UH Hilo’s growth and performance over the years has been impressive,” said Dr. Cecilia Mukai, who steps down as faculty advisor at the end of the semester. “I want to thank everyone who has supported this group, which has a positive influence on students pursuing health-related careers.”

The HOSA at UH Hilo team now moves on to the International Conference, scheduled for June 21-24, at Disney’s Coronado Springs in Orlando, Florida.

Message From UH Hilo Chancellor: Reorganization Proposal for College of Arts and Sciences, Town Halls Scheduled

Dear Colleagues,

Chancellor Donald Straney

Attached is the updated proposal and related files for the reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences. I appreciate your patience with the process.

Vice Chancellor Platz and I have scheduled three Town Hall meetings where we invite you to come to discuss this proposal. Schedule of meetings:

  • Friday, Feb. 24, 3:00 p.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 9:00 a.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Thursday, March 2, 11:30 a.m.,  University Classroom Building, room 111.

We welcome your feedback.

We look forward to further conversation.

Sincerely,

Don Straney

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“Birth Control” for Mosquitoes Targeted at Saving Unique, Imperiled Hawaiian Birds

To protect Hawaiʻi’s unique, imperiled native birds, researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi are teaming up with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to adapt a ‘birth control’ method used across the U.S. mainland to control mosquitoes. Mosquitos are a nuisance and a hazard both to people and to Hawaii’s native birds, which are in danger of extinction from decades of habitat loss, predation and diseases like avian malaria and avian pox.

Scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are taking the first steps to adapt a safe, targeted, and efficient mosquito control method known as “Incompatible Insect Technique” to reduce the population of the disease-carrying mosquitoes that harm native birds in Hawaiʻi. Incompatible Insect Technique acts like a birth control method for mosquitoes and it has already been adopted and proven successful around the country and the world to protect human health and quality of life. A similar method has been used in Hawaiʻi for decades to control fruit fly pests which are harmful to local agricultural products.

Mosquitoes arrived in Hawai‘i accidentally in the 1800s and are one reason why about two dozen species of Hawai‘i’s remaining native birds are threatened or on the brink of extinction. Today, most of these birds survive at higher elevations where it’s too cold for mosquitoes. But as the climate changes, mosquitoes are moving up hill and bringing disease with them.

“We are already seeing the loss on Kauaʻi of the safe havens of higher elevation forests for our native birds. Mosquito-spread diseases are decimating bird populations and if we do nothing we could lose several more species in the next 10 years,” said Cynthia King, an entomologist with DLNR/DOFAW.

Just one of the 6 types of mosquitoes found in Hawaiʻi harms native birds – the one called Culex quinquefasciatus. Scientists and conservationists are working together to use a bacteria that is naturally-occuring in fruit flies in Hawaiʻi. It is called Wolbachia, and the research, which will be done in controlled laboratory settings, involves giving the male mosquitoes a different strain of Wolbachia than is normally found in them, to prevent them from producing offspring. To reproduce, most mosquitoes carry a type of this Wolbachia in their system. When male mosquitoes with the different strain of Wolbachia try to mate with females, there are no offspring.

“The process for mosquitoes is very similar to techniques that have been used for many decades in Hawaiʻi to control pest fruit flies for the benefit of agriculture,” said King. “It doesn’t eradicate the insect, but helps to safely reduce the population on a landscape scale without the use of pesticides and without harming any other species.”

The technique will not impact the other five mosquito species present in Hawaiʻi, though researchers hope to learn more in the process about control methods that could be applied to the mosquito species that affect human health. If tests are successful, the team will evaluate how to safely apply this method to Hawaiʻi’s remote native forests where birds still reside.

DLNR and its partners will also continue to evaluate other control options to expand tools available to control mosquitoes in Hawaiʻi.

Suzanne Case, DLNR Chair said, “Controlling mosquito populations will greatly benefit our endangered native birds. Mosquitos have only been here for about 200 years, and our native wildlife has evolved without them over millions of years. While some native species may eat small amounts of mosquitoes, there are no species that depend on them, as even bats are documented to prefer larger prey. Reducing mosquitos is good for nature and people in Hawaiʻi.”

Aviation Caucus Convenes at Hawaii State Capital

A bipartisan group of State Senators and House Representatives along with pilots and aviation enthusiasts today gathered at the State Capitol for the first meeting of the newly formed Hawai‘i Aviation Caucus.

The Hawai‘i Aviation Caucus was established to foster and promote all forms of aviation, to support legislation that creates jobs, improves transportation between the islands and beyond, and bolsters the aviation business climate in Hawai‘i.

Photo via Hawaii Senate Majority

“Aviation is vital to our state’s economy and welfare, so it’s only in our best interest that we work together to ensure that we have a thriving aviation industry here in Hawai‘i,” said Sen. Kai Kahele, who co-convenes the Caucus with Rep. Angus McKelvey.  “This is just the start of a continuous working group that I hope will further engage those who support aviation and want to see it prosper.”

Hawai‘i has a robust aviation history dating back to its first flight in 1910.  Since then, Hawai‘i has played a vital role in the development of both commercial and military air travel. Today, with fifteen public use airports in Hawai‘i, the aviation industry produces over 4,100 jobs and $742 million in economic output.

Hawaii County Nominations Sought for UH Board of Regents

The Candidate Advisory Council (CAC) of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents has re-initiated the recruitment process for a Hawaiʻi County seat on the Board of Regents. Nominations are now being accepted for an interim appointment to the Board of Regents, to begin upon approval and ending on June 30, 2018. Candidates must reside in Hawaiʻi County.

Application materials, procedures and descriptions of regent’s responsibilities are available online at http://www.hawaii.edu/rcac. This information may also be requested by calling (808) 692-1218 or by email at borapp@hawaii.edu.

Applications must be completed and received by CAC by Monday, February 27, 2017.

Members of the UH Board of Regents as well as the Candidate Advisory Council, who represent various constituent groups, serve voluntarily and are not paid.

The advisory council was created by Act 56, 2007 Hawaiʻi Legislature, in conformity with the amendment to Article X, Section 6 of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution ratified by the voters on Nov. 7, 2006. The council is tied to the University of Hawaiʻi for administrative purposes. In 2013, Act 72 was passed to further define the candidate advisory council.

Eight members, including one ex officio, comprise the advisory council. They establish the criteria for qualifying, screening and forwarding candidates for membership on the UH Board of Regents. The council advertises pending vacancies and solicits and accepts applications from potential candidates.